I have lost a week’s posting of sketches which I’ll catch up on later. For now, I am back on track with today’s sketch of corn on the cob from the potager, on which the horses feast every day. Up until a few days ago, they were still sweet and juicy and wonderful on the barbeque, but seeing them with dry husks, is a clear sign that summer is moving on.
..corn on the cob..
I tend to be very boring when it comes to choosing daily outfits. I have only a few favorite outfits in which I feel comfortable, so comfortable that I tend to wear only those. One such a comfy piece of clothing, is this pair of Oxfords, my favorite winter shoes. I wear them with long skirts, with rolled up pants, with jeans, with woolen slacks..they go with everything and they walk everywhere. But don’t make the mistake thinking that I don’t love shoes..oh, I do, I do! It is a bit like art supplies..I want to have it all, thinking I’ll do better art, but in the end, only the basics can do the job. With shoes the same. I want them all, thinking I’ll look prettier, but in the end, only a few succeed in not making me walk around with a tortured expression on my face..back to basics.
Watercolor pencil and watercolor on watercolor block, 18x26cm
Yay..I’m back to plein air painting after a dry spell of two years…..The oil paintings are busy drying, while outside the thunder is rolling and the rain is showering down, bringing welcome relief to a dry garden. The days are wonderfully hot, hot, hot…I love every sweaty minute! Believe it or not, it is in this sweltering heat that I decided to move out to plein air again with my palette and oils. Summer works for me. In the meantime, some peaches in watercolor, done with some big round yellow peaches and juicy flat white ones..which are all devoured by now and the cause of some tummy ache…Summer and its fruit does that to me too..
..trois pêches plates.
watercolor and pen on aquarelle block, 18X26cm
..trois pêches jaunes..
watercolor and pen on aquarelle block, 18X26cm
This is my favorite time of sketching.. I love all the ochres and umbers. And on days when the weather is a bit chilly or wet, it is nice to bring in leaves and branches and whatever else I found on walk and fiddle in the studio. I don’t work in my atelier enough and I actually love my atelier! My table is in front of the fireplace, my coffee machine just a further to the left..in fact, the whole barn is my atelier and I am in it for another winter.
Both sketches done in pen and aquarelle in Hahnemule watercolor sketchbook, 19X20cm
For my postcard to Pat, I was in Vayrac, handing in all my old linen to be washed and went for a coffee. Afterwards I looked over the rooftops and realized I haven’t done such a postcard yet. So there. The rooftops of Vayrac for Pat.
..rooftops of Vayrac(envelope)..
done in gouache and pen
..rooftops of Vayrac..
done in pen and watercolor on Daler and Rowney watercolor paper CP, 25,4×17,8cm
I had some lunch at a small restaurant close by and sketched my lunch of a vegetable soup, coffee and the surrounding salt and pepper set.
…vegetable soup and bread…
pencil, pen and watercolor in Daler rowney sketchbook
The coffee sketch was my first and when I tell you that I had a very upsetting experience just before I arrived at the restaurant, you’ll understand why the lines are so dark and the whole sketch is sombre and almost violent. I’m always amazed by the strong influence emotion has on art.
The salt and pepper set was the last sketch and you can see that my emotion has settled a bit by that time. It did my a world of good to do these drawings…therapeutic.
pencil, pen and watercolor in Daler rowney sketchbook
…coffee and water with cpeculoos biscuit…
pencil, pen and watercolor in Daler rowney sketchbook
I have done just some sketches. Nothing in particular. Just taking out a pen and small watercolor tin and putting something on paper.
…two plants on a coffeetable of a shop…
…a third potplant on another coffee table…
…a branch of berries picked on one of my walks…
All sketches done in pen and watercolor wash on Arches paper, 18x26cm
The months are flying by rapidly and we’ve already sent off 6 postcards of 13, almost halfway through. For this card to Martin, I decided on the vineyards here in Correze…our specialty wines, Vin paillé, meaning straw wine. The grapes are semi dried on straw beds and then pressed.
…on his envelope…
gouache on brown paper envelope
…and the post card… vin paillé of Correze
pen and watercolor on watercolor paper
My week in Provence ended far too soon and it went by far too quick. I managed to do a few, not nearly as much as I planned, because typically Ronell, I forgot half of my art stuff at home. I left my very important oil canvases, boards and large watercolor pads by the door to pack them last and that’s where they still were while I as in Provence. Finding an art store proved to be harder than imagined and so I ended up borrowing two canvas papers from Katherine…can one borrow a paper/canvas…?
To start off with: all of the following are sketches done around Les Couguieux, where we stayed.
…the blue shutters of les couguieux…
watercolor and pen on watercolor paper
…hameau des couguieux…
pen and wash on watercolor paper
…the terrace at les couguieux…
pen and wash on watercolor paper
…still life with cups and lemon…
pen and wash on watercolor paper
To follow: landscapes in watercolor and gouache
Yes, I’m off to Provence this coming weekend for a crazy painting time with 3 friends for one of three weeks in total.
...africantapestry is off to provence…
sketch in pen and watercolor
Katherine needs no introduction,; if you don’t know about the role she plays in the virtual art world, then shame on you…go and read about her!! And who doesn’t know Robyn and her biggest fan Dermott(or is he??)…? And about Sarah, well I don’t have to say another word, because a professional painter of her standard doesn’t need any introduction!
So there you are, four nutty women off to Provence to paint….mostly paint…and then also feast on Provencal foods…and wines….drive around….get lost….dance to wild music…chat, chat, and chat….laugh, laugh and laugh(we all four have an overly developed sense 0f humor)…swim….cycle… and eveything else one does in Provence?
We’ll be staying in the Vaucluse home of well known painter of Postcards from Provence, Julian Merrow Smith and his wife Ruth Philips, while they will be in England where Ruth will be playing cello at the Garsington festival.
We even have our own blog, Four go painting in Provence and you’re invited to follow us every step of the way on this trip. and Sarah saw to us having our own logo, which you will see on television and on Oprah…oh no, sorry Oprah isn’t any more…oh, well, we’ll probably just get our own show…
Seriously though, we’re planning on doing a lot of painting…all of us will be doing aquarelle, some gouache, some will do oils(I’m one and I know for sure Sarah is another) and then there will be coloured pencils, charcoal, inks and pens. We will of course leave Provence with cases full of sketches, a lot of plein air paintings and drawings well do in the evenings after the dishes. We will also post regularly on Four go painting in Provence to pin down our daily experiences.
So please drop by and please join us and who knows, our fun might lead to you doing the same in Provence next year. I think we might be in Prague next year…or Sicilia…or Marocco…anyhow, we’ll be somewhere! But for now…move over Cezanne, here come the four mad hatters!
My postcard to Liz in Australia was a challenge and one I really enjoyed. Liz is an avid tea drinker and she is on a quest to try out all the different flavors on the market. I’m not a tea drinker, but I can handle my coffee quite well. So the logical choice for a post card to Liz was of course…an early morning french coffee and a croissant!
…a French coffee and croissant…
Pen and watercolor on watercolor paper.
Pen and gouache on brown envelope
We were in Singapore for a few days recently and apart from devouring sushi, morning noon and night, I managed to pack in a few sketches. I found the climate very tiring for walking and sketching…heavy, hot and humid! But for the rest, I enjoyed every bit of the trip(except the flight there and back of course, but that is only becasue I hate flying by default).
Singapore is rich in culture and history, two things that I thoroughly enjoy. Discovering cultures different than mine and learning about their history truly enriches me. I feel fortunate to have been able to learn a bit more of Singapore…next on my list is Japan towards the end of the year, depending on the circumstances. We were in Singapore when Japan was hit recently and I sadly witnessed many people cry for family they’ve lost or haven’t heard of back in Japan.
Read more about the history of singapore here.
You can see some photos of the trip here at Sushi..and Singapore.
Or on Facebook.
Pen and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 15.5×35 cm
…on the esplanade…
pencil and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 15.5×35 cm.
.. Lin bo Seng memorial and old supreme court…
pencil and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 15.5x35cm
pen and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 15,5×35 cm.
Pen and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook, 15.5x35cm.
Pen and watercolor in watecolors sketchbook, 19x20cm
…buddha tooth relic temple in chinatown…
pencil and watercolor in watercolor sketcjbook, 15.5x35cm.
pen and watercolor in watecolor skechbook, 19x20cm
When we went to Hawaii last year, I took hundreds of photos of the koi ponds. It is one of the MOST relaxing pastimes…just sitting and watching those koi’s play. I did only one sketch of them in the time we were there, but I took hundreds of photos and for the rest of the time, I just stared at them.
I’m on the “search” lately, not knowing exactly where I should go art wise. There so many different directions that give me joy and I’d like to continue doing them all, but I would also like to accelerate in a specific field…not be so all over the place as I am currently. As the weather is a bit bad lately and it is raining a lot, chances to go and do plein air are scarce. I was looking through my Hawaii albummorning and came across these koi photos and the joy of sitting there and watching them(in the SUN!!) had me take them all to the atelier. This is my latest. I want to do some koi paintings, eventually in oil, but first some studies in watercolor, which to me is a far more difficult medium than oil.
Also posted on Watermarks.
All these studies done in pen and watercolor on Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper, CP, 18x26cm.
…koi study in watercolor 7…
A prerequisite for the koi paintings, is that I want movement in the paintings. So I tried in all of the watercolor studies to get movement. These studies are of course done from photographs, something I strurggle with doing, because I get caught up in a tight clenching mode and lose all spontaneity. So I decided to put my earphones on and I listened to Beethovens piano concerto nos 4 and 5 and Piano a la Roque d’Antheron with works by Lizt, Chopin Rachmaninoff…to keep me “allegretto and crecsendo“. I think it did work, because looking at these studies, they almost come across as messy and I certainly hope not “tight”, except maybe for number three(koi watercolor 2) which was before I started listening to the music. You’ll clearly see that I still drew and painted “fishy by fishy”. I did 7 studies, and like with everything else…I started getting better. but now I’m tired of watercolor and going to start doing the koi in oil…let’s say a little serie of koi in oils.
…koi study in watercolor 4…
…koi study in watercolor 2…
Now I also need to find a place where I can really study them…their movements( a year ago is too long to remember those kinds of details), their behavior, their mischief and play and capture that onto live sketches. then come back to the studio and NOT procrastinate again, like I’m SO famous for, but paint them immediately.
So, if you’re interested in seeing these koi develop..remember to stop by again!
I’ve cleaned my garden, prepared it for autumn and the colours are already turning beautiful golds and reds…and old colours, like the hydrangeas.
This afternoon was the first of my art afternoon with MArie-Christine. We do such different work, which is inspiring. I forgot to ask her psrmission to show her piece here today, but she will be continuing next week, and maybe even the week after, so keep an eye open on Thursdays to see how we progress on our pieces.
For today I only did two sketches in pen and watercolor, but from next week on I’ll also do more serious work…I was so fatigued today and didn’t have the energy to do an oil painting..
Sketches of the autumn hydrangeas in the garden just outside my atelier..
both sketches in pen and watercolor in sketchbooks.
…hydrangeas and greens…
…hydrangeas and urn…
I was dropped off at the market in Bretenoux, about 30 minutes drive from Coin Perdu, early this morning. After doing my market shopping…olives and saucisson and tomatoes and peaches and berries….oh, and salad… I had time left while waiting to be picked up. Took out my sketchbook, walked around, sketched two market scenes and the “eglise”, opposite the market. My ride showed up and I had just enough time to blotch the church. A quaint little town in the department of Lot…see the link above for some nice reading on Bretenoux. But I still prefer the much quieter and rustic Correze where we have our little hide away…
…le marché à Bretenoux – baskets galore…
…colorful umbrellas on a sunny day at the market…
…l’eglise à Bretenoux…
W are living a whole saga of chickens, running for a few months now, but that is a story for some other day. For now, here are Tartelette and Omelette, the latest addition to the chicken chronicles. They are two Bantam de Pèkin, porcelain chickens, and SOOO cute! Now being fully adapted and taken ino the Van Wyk household, they reign alongside the cats. In our home, the humans take second spot in the limelight. Here they are just lazing in the barn by my feet. It was raining outside. They don’t like to get wet. And the barn is comfortable.
Th cows roaming the hills have a beauty all of their own. With their velvety brown eyes and long lashes, they love attention and eagerly respond to “vient, vient!” hoping for a delicacy, which is quite often the case…a branch of poplars held out to them, or soft green grass.
The bottom sketch is done on a different day, in a different sketchbook where the paper has more texture. Some of the cows look rather like dogs…or bulls…or even rabbits? Let’s just say I’m out of practice(sic)…
All sketches done with rotring pen and watercolor in CP watercolour sketchbooks(400g/m²), 26x18cm and 25×15.3cm.
until next time..!
I’ve started my garden at Coin Perdu. We are still working on the house, so I am limited to where I can garden for the moment. A rock garden close by the barn we’re living in for the moment works good. It also serves as a little lay in garden where plants can with for their permanent place in the garden. It was hard work, since it is a little grass covered hill that I had to dig out, remove the grass, lay down big bolders, fill with rocks, treat the soil, add compost and all necessary, leave it to settle and then plant some plants. It still needs work, but for now it is filled with plants loving sun and rocky corners and it has steps that lead up to a little corner on the hill where a bench waits patiently for someone to sit and admire my handiwork…? It is adjacent to the old pigsty, that will soon become my laundry room and the bench will be a welcome repose from all the washing that needs attention on a farm!
The top sketch is of bags with compost and soil and stuff(I don’ t have my own yet!) and some plants from the pepinier(I don’t have my own hothouse yet!). the second sketch is the rock garden, just competed this morning.
We were for a quick weekend at Coin Perdu, starting some work again. but it was raining and we didn’t get alot done. Went for some nice walks though. On my sketchercise walk I took my pen and sketchbook and roughly sketched some dry weeds from last season. The fileds are covered in flowers, especially the bright yellow marigolds, but since it was overcast, they were all closed.
Here are dry Scottish thistlel, some goutweed and young Plantain.
All sketches in pen/pencil and watercolor wash in Sketchercise book, 18x25cm.
This morning on my walk here in Montlouis, the weather was as bad, if not worse. It is alwasy a few degrees warmer in Correze than it is here. I went for my walk, having a hanglip becasue of the weather. My bones are asking for good spring and summer weather now! I need to be outside now, in nature and in the sun and by the river and bare arms and walking barefoot!
So here are some frustrated sketches from this morning’s walk in un temps de chien(awful , dog weather)!
A daffodil and hyacinth and tulip encountered on my walk, as also an underground water pipe.
A sunny Forsythia in bloom, and a curb and flowerbed near my home.
We were in Oslo last week. My first time. I mentioned how much I loved Helsinki, but I fell head over heels for Oslo! It is a lovely city, with beautiful architecture, a warm ambiance, wonderful views, great people…it is wonderful! I can’t wait to go back for a longer and a decent visit. My next stop will be Greenland!
Time was too pressed to do much, but at least I got to see “the scream” by Edvard Munch up and close, definitely not one of my favourite paintings. The secret to his work, I think, is that it should be viewed from a distance. His strokes are sometimes so messy and careless from close by that it bothers and disturbs the eye, but from far, his work has magic and I could even fall for “the vampire“, though I dislike all kinds of vampire pictures and tales. His dawings and sketches and lithographs also attract me far more than his paintings and there you can really see that he has a swift and sure hand. I especially enjoyed his “Towards the forest” drawings, his alpha and omega series, his “Starry night“, so different from Van gogh. I still can’t really make up my mind whether the art of Edvard Munch “speaks” to me…but Oslo certainly does!
Photos of Oslo can be seen on Salmon-with-a-creamy-herb-sauce-and-a-trip-to-Oslo at Myfrenchkitchen.
All sketches done in pencil and watercolor in watercolor sketchbook.
Visiting our eldest daughter Marinell in Paris this past week….
Paris was sunny and stunningly beautiful! Our weather is still very mild and everybody is out and in good spirits. The waiters are witty, the cars are their usual impatient selves, the women typically autumnal chic and elegant and the children street wise. It is always an experience for me to go into Paris. Once I get used to the traffic, the street hustle and bustle and and Paris noise, I fall into the rhythm of the city, revel in taking on my new pretend-role of la Parisienne.
…place de la sorbonne…
I have my few secret corners that I drop by every time (you’ll have to visit me to know what they are!) and for the rest, I walk and walk and walk, discover new quaint little shops and petits chemins, drop in to buy my regular edible gold leaf and to see what other delicacies are new. Discover bars and bistros and boulangeries and chocolateries, roam the markets, linger in the bookstores and art stores, enjoy lunch with Marinell at my one of my favourite bars outside the centre of Paris, L’usine Charonne. Tea at l’heure du gouter at Le Fumoir, meet Hartman at night on our romantic spot on Pont neuf, read for hours in my favourite jardin de luxembourg where something happens every minute and each stroller is living his/her story. And always, always held captive by the incredibly beautiful architecture of Paris.
How I love Paris. How I love France!
See photos here: Travel at Myfrenchkitchen
…st amandé – place de la mairie…
My sketches are all a bit tight, but maybe I am a bit uptight lately! I have done some more sketches which will follow in the next post and they are a bit looser and messier…the way I like it.
…place de la nation – statue…
All sketches done in sketchbook with graphite and watercolour.
How to sketch/paint/draw/do any kind of art, when you’re in a slump.
I don’t know. I had such good plans when coming back from Hawaii and just suddenly, the pencil or brush refuses to do what I ask it to do. Not to mention the motivation that just disappeared into thin air. Why does this happen. How can it happen almost overnight? Why does it take so long to get back into it? And how to get back on track? Million dollar questions.
I walked up and down the Loire this morning. In the wind. With only a sketchbook and pen. Oh, and a coffee. Stopped at a little bench to finish the coffee and veil myself from the wind. But determined to get at least one or two sketches, I took the wooden steps down to the river.
I sat on a sand bank here and there and only scribbled down some small puddles with stones and grass and debris. The wind drove me home earlier than I desired and I gathered leaves to take along. At home I indulged in a hot chocolate and gave a wash to the ink sketches, which I shouln’t have done. They definitely looked a bit better only in ink. I “overwashed” them all and now I feel like I’ve been doing colouring in; I couldn’t stop…SIGH…but at least I didn’t scratch them out like I have been doing with all my artwork lately!
This past week Katherine was in Touraine with her sister and niece. First stopping off to visit Monet in Rouen and then Paris and then arrived here in Tours, valley of the chateaux…but why am I telling you all when you can go read it on her Travels with a sketchbook and Making a mark. See links lower down.
…distracted sketches in Tours…
What I can tell you is that it was so great to meet her! Such a fascinating person! With a very real passion for art, for books. A sponge for information. She thrives on researching and gathering information, and sharing it is her way of learning and growing. She confessed that she loves being asked questions, which takes her to digging and researching…so there you go, ask away! She is devoted to sketching which she does with great ease and comfort in remote corners as well as around buzz with lively people and situations. In fact, she thrives on scenes where the challenge to capture people coming and going, results in a scene where the setting is static, but the ambiance is moving and changing. Withing as little as ten – fifteen minutes she can sketch a restaurant scene with tables and chairs and windows, cake and drinks and a traffic of people arriving and leaving, and they all find a place in her scene, the Katherine way. That becomes her unique view.
She’ll capture the skies in order to define the relief of Mont St Michel. Or sitting opposite a boring road, where there is nothing but a line of autumn trees with flaming yellows, soft greens and a dark tunnel and it tuns into a gentle fall scene of serenity. Or how about Chenonceau, where she would seat herself on a corner away from the people traffic, patiently waiting for people, blocking her view, to take their photo, and then shows up with a fairy tale chateau, water reflections and all. Or the gesture of two couples on a park bench, worn down from being tourists, perfectly captured to make you almost feel their fatigue!
By telling you this, it may sound that we did a lot of sketching together, but unfortunately we didn’t even do a single one together! Time passed too fast and too stuffed with things to do. However, I saw her sketchbooks, paged through them again and again and only really saw her art for the first time. The computer screen doesn’t do her sketches justice and seeing her sketch books, was like opening story books! We also did indulge in eating a deliciously light French chocolate mousse cake. We made up for that little sin by lunching on light salads and last night said goodbye over candles with champagne and boeuf bourguignon! I was fortunate to enjoy her sketching the restaurant scene during lunch, while her sister and niece and I saw to the conversation and entertaining side of the meal.
But before you think I’m completely worthless, I can show two quick and distracted sketches I did while waiting to meet up with them in Tours. Part of our hotel de ville, typical French streetlamp and a few chaotic brasserie chairs! I can also show you Katherine’s creative hands and part of her sketchbook. To full enjoy this trip of hers, you’ll have to visit her sketchblog Travels with a sketchbook, where a wealth of French sketches will await you, probably as from Monday, when she’ll be back home and start telling and showing. And with all the books she took back home, Making a mark will surely be filled with loads of information, perfumed with a little French panache. Don’t miss out!
And I’m leaving you with a little personal glimpse of her…She has a laugh that can be tickled easily, with eyes that join in, crinkling with delight. She can talk and chat as easily and entertainingly as her writing is. She has an enthusiastic YES! when fascinated by something, she adores her two cats, she can lose herself in travel…and oh yes, she loves a cup of tea!!
…Katherine’s lunch sketch…
…her book and her tools…
My favourite stopping corner was here at the koi pond. Its tranquility and the elegance of the kois in their ballets seduced me into seating myself on the rock by the edge early every morning, staring at them endlessly, sipping my kona coffee.. the world was still quiet when I softly spoke to them, telling them my schedule for the day. Joking about their pouting lips searching for a delicacy. And then I’d sketch them. Snap them. Photo’s galore. They enjoyed posing and pirouetted spontaneously only for me.
Voila some stops on my walks. Colourful canoes on the lagoon. Elegant flamingoes. Impressive statues. I could probably have stopped more often to sketch, but a big part of the allure of Hawai’i is in the reflecting and quiet time, staring into distance. Quiet and still. Watching waves break. Listening to the wind rustling through the palms. Being entranced by the play of light on the shallow waters by the shore. Waiting along with the surfers for that next big one. Feeling that drop of sweat trickling down your back, telling you it’s time to move on. People who don’t do that, miss out.
In this quiet time in still corners of the island, away from people, in solitude with only the wind and the ocean as company, I have succeeded in solving issues, finding peace in who I am and how I am. It gave me acceptance with roads I will be following from now on. It gave me breathing space and freedom to come to terms with bridges that were burnt. I imagine I gave it all up to the waves and the ocean, while the soft touch of the breezes swept me clean from disappointments and sadness and just maybe the whisper of the palms filled me with optimism and a strong spirit. I look forward to tomorrow.
Because I enjoyed the koi fish so much, and because I have these millions of photos of them(almost), I thought to share them with you, offering them(like with the sunflowers) to those who so desire, to download and paint, paint paint them! Throw the photo’s together and compose a watercolour or pastel, or oil or drawing. Make marks…they are wonderful to paint and play around with. Look at the water as well…lovely shapes and colour. Great movement. Here are some close ups as well as general shots. So. I invite you to enjoy!
…koi fish for painting…
click on image to print larger version
For more photo’s on the trip see Myfrenchkitchen: travel
To be continued…
A post for Sketchercise:
This morning’s walk provided me with greens.I have to admit that I don’t enjoy drawing/painting/rendering leaves. Maybe it is the greens in them I shy away from. I find green a difficult colour to paint in watercolour as well as oil, or any other medium. Beautiful in nautre, difficult to render. Too much green can make me feel quite ill. The wrong greens can look very artificial. Green can easily look flat and lifeless. Like white, green isn’t just ..green. It absorbs and reflects its environment and by looking closer you’ll see browns and reds, yellows and blues…a whole spectrum of colour. And then we get transparent greens and saturated greens, which you can’t paint with only green from a tube or pan. Even oils are difficult and mix differently than watercolour, for one – we have a white which can be added to green in oils, then making it less transparent of course. Which explains why I rarely paint with green, but prefer mixing a green. And I love to mix it directly it on my paper or canvas to have the colours flow into one another, giving dimension and vibrancy and life, even if the green isn’t the “perfect” green. I sometimes add olive green(Schmincke) and the very different olive green(W&N).
Please do tell how you paint greens?!
In these three sketches, I have used more or less the same palette:
Cobalt yellow pale(W&N), cobalt yellow deep(W&N), yellow ochre light(Schmincke), lemon yellow(W&N),french ultramarine(Sennelier), cobalt blue(Sennelier), Prussian blue(Sennelier), Cerulean blue(W&N), Paynes gray(W&N), burnt sienna(W&N), raw umber(Sennelier), olive green(Scmincke).
All sketchesdone with rotring pen and watercolour in watercolour moleskine